Kashmir Indepth

J&K seeks relaxation in timeframe for freezing boundaries of administrative units

Wants to put restrictions on changing boundaries from Mar 31, 2020 instead of Dec 31, 2019

Umer Maqbool

Srinagar, Mar 06 : In an unprecedented move, the Jammu & Kashmir government has approached the Government of India seeking relaxation in timeline for freezing boundaries of administrative units in the Union Territory for conducting 2021 census, sources disclosed.

According to wire service—going by directives of the Registrar General and Census Commissioner, Ministry of Home Affairs, the government of J&K had to freeze boundaries of all administrative units from December 31, 2019 to March 31, 2021.

As per this arrangement, Jammu & Kashmir government could not create new administrative units or alter existing units after their boundaries were freezed. The ban would remain in vogue till March 31, 2021 i.e. when the census will be completed.

However, J&K government, in an unexpected move, has approached the Government of India with a request that it wants to freeze boundaries of administrative units from March 31, 2020 instead of December 31, 2019- the date notified by the Centre for the same.

“The Government of India has to take a call on the request,” said an official, wishing not to be named. As per the census guidelines, the states and UTs cannot create new administrative units like districts, sub-divisions, tehsils, revenue villages, municipalities or alter them after their boundaries are freezed.

Under the Census Act -1948, the states and UTs have to issue notification for freezing boundaries of administrative units.

“The state governments and Union Territory administrations shall freeze the administrative boundaries of districts, tehsils, towns etc. from the date to be intimated by the Census commissioner which shall not be earlier than one year from the census reference date till completion of the census,” reads section 8(V) of Census Act, 2018.

Sources in J&K government disclosed that notification for freezing boundaries of administrative units was put on hold at the eleventh hour.

“The Planning Development and Monitoring Department which is coordinating the census exercise in J&K was set to issue notification in December after getting it vetted from Law department.  But it was not issued at the last minute,” an official disclosed.

On December 13, the government notified dates for conduct of House Listing and Housing Census in J&K—which will also be the first-ever for the four- month -old Union Territory—(KNO)

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